In sailing news, management and crew of San Diego’s pride, the Star of India, have turned down an invitation to race in the America’s Cup. The surprise invitation arrived after the Republic of Estonia withdrew joining bygone teams from France, China, Britain, Korea, Italy, Australia, Spain, Cameron, Andorra, Denmark, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Palau, Ecuador, East Timor, Burkina Faso, Mongolia, Germany, Laos, Swaziland, and Imperial County.
Which leaves three challengers to do battle for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to go mano a mano against the defending America’s Cup champion, Oracle Team USA. Winner take all. So, let’s give it up for Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Sweden’s Artemis Racing.
On Sunday, Luna Rossa Challenge posted a communiqué on their website announcing they wouldn’t race until “an international jury decides its protest against safety measures introduced by regatta director Iain Murray.” There is no set timeline for the jury to reach a decision, although it is reported that it may be Wednesday or Thursday. Unless it’s Tuesday or Friday. Monday or next week is a possibility, too.
The issue at hand is one of the 37 safety recommendations race director Iain Murray imposed after Artemis Racing’s 72-foot catamaran capsized six weeks ago, killing a crew member. This rule requires boats to have deeper rudders and larger winglets. Italy and New Zealand claim the rule is not a safety measure but a transparent attempt to give an advantage to Oracle.
That’s the legal news. The sporting news is Emirates Team New Zealand was scheduled to race Luna Rossa on Sunday, but since the Italian team refused to race, New Zealand manned up and ran the race by herself. Here’s the takeaway: the Kiwis brought home VICTORY! New Zealand racked up the first point in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series and the Box couldn’t be happier.
Emirates Team New Zealand is scheduled to race again on Tuesday. This time New Zealand’s scheduled opponent is Artemis Racing. But, wouldn’t you know, Artemis Racing is still building their new boat, which means New Zealand will again be matched against New Zealand.
What does this mean to you, your family, neighbors, coworkers, the cop on the beat, and the guy who tags your car every Friday?
Well, it looks like another win for Team New Zealand. You never know, this is live sports, things could change, New Zealand could BOOM off the starting line, never look back, and lap New Zealand. Or, New Zealand could falter and allow the underdog, New Zealand, to catch up. All things are possible, but the Vegas Line has moved after Sunday’s results and now favors New Zealand to win Tuesday’s race.
I can’t take the excitement.
And I thought nothing could top Friday’s grand opening. Here is the original schedule. First, a fleet race, all the America’s Cup boats including the $100,000,000-per-copy, 72-foot behemoth catamarans, racing at speeds near 50 mph, racing tight to the shore, racing past tens of thousands of amazed fans, to the finish line. Nobody has seen boats that big, that fast, racing that close to land. What a boffo opener! What a TV moment!
Like I said, things change. The original high concept was downgraded to a Parade of Boats filing past thousands of impressed spectators, followed by time trials starring $100,000,000-per-copy, 72-foot behemoth catamarans, racing at speeds near 50 mph.
Love those big boats!
Friday morning, race director Murray said wind speeds on the bay were too high, scratched the $100,000,000-per-copy, 72-foot behemoth catamarans, racing at speeds near 50 mph, from the event. The reimagined Parade of Boats consisted of one San Francisco fire boat, one replica of the schooner that won the first America’s Cup, and several support boats, the likes of which can be found at any neighborhood marina. The Parade of Boats slogged past 2000 spectators who looked up from their iPhones and reacted as if they’d just seen somebody cut a ribbon in front of the new Walmart.
Meanwhile, New Zealand and Italy are protesting. Italy has threatened to withdraw from the race if their appeal is turned down. If Italy/New Zealand win, the CEO of Sweden’s team promises to withdraw. No worries. Either way, there will be two teams left to do battle. Remember, it only takes one team to win.
The forgoing might be beside the point if the International Jury rules in favor of Italy/New Zealand. If that be the case, race director Murray says he’ll pay a visit to the Coast Guard, inform them the race is unsafe, which will cause the Coast Guard to pull its race permit, terminating the 2013 America’s Cup.
The Box couldn’t be happier.